Archive for Johnny Clarke

Johnny Clarke – Rockers Time Now (1976)

Posted in Bunny Lee, Johnny Clarke, The Aggrovators with tags , , on October 31, 2016 by 1960s: Days of Rage

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“One of the crucial albums of the 1970s, Johnny Clarke delivers up a masterpiece in a mere 12 tracks. Produced by Bunny Lee, at the height of his ‘flying cymbals’ work, Rockers Time Now, contrary to its title, doesn’t so much rock as find the perfect lackadaisical groove, and slides along it into nirvana. If the Jamaican term ‘irae’ had a musical personification, Rockers would be it. Clarke’s own laid-back, unruffled delivery dovetails perfectly, and Lee’s equally easygoing house band the Aggrovators were the perfect music complement. Several of the songs are covers that on paper seem to be recipes for disaster, like the Abyssinians’ militant ‘Declaration of Rights.’ But miraculously it works brilliantly, as if the revolution had come without bloodshed, with Babylon brought to ruins by a haze of ganja smoke. That haze swirls around ‘Satta Massa Gana’ as well, conjuring up a dream world Africa, an exquisite paradise far removed from the real world. However, Rockers isn’t all wrapped in mists, ‘Ites Green and Gold’ is actually pretty punchy, while ‘African Roots’ bounces across the grooves, buoyed by the bubbly guitar riffs. Airiest of all is the title track, which almost floats off the record entirely. The rest of the record is rootsier, with just enough simmering guitar slithering through to justify the rockers title. The standout is arguably a cover of the Mighty Diamonds ‘Them Never Love Poor Marcus,’ the most passionate track on the record, although ‘Let’s Give Jah Jah Praise’ runs a very close second. The album remains a contradiction in terms, rockers without the rock, roots without the fire, but Clarke’s silky delivery, and the Aggrovators’ subtle performance had classic written all over it. The Front Line label dropped the singer after the release of this album and Authorized Version, philistines blind to the rare gems in their hands, and time has only increased the value of Rockers Time Now. — Jo-Ann Greene”
allmusic
Spotify
YouTube: Rockers Time Now

Johnny Clarke – Play Fool Fe Get Wise / Every Knew Shall Bow (1978)

Posted in Bunny Lee, Dub, Johnny Clarke with tags , , on June 22, 2016 by 1960s: Days of Rage

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“… Play Fool Fe Get Wise is about people who use their brains to outsmart others. Both Enter Into His Gates and Move Out Of Babylon were extremely popular roots tunes and were amongst the first string of hits to appear from Johnny Clarke. The latter appears here in a recut of the song which has been recorded in the ’80s utilizing the slower rub-a-dub or dancehall style riddim track in stead of the militant steppers riddim which featured on the original version. …”
Reggae Vibes
YouTube: Play Fool Fe Get Wise, Every Knew Shall Bow (& dub)

Johnny Clarke – Originally Mr. Clarke (1980)

Posted in Bunny Lee, Channel One, Clocktower Records, Dub, Johnny Clarke with tags , , , , on March 15, 2014 by 1960s: Days of Rage

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“Originally Mr. Clarke was first released in 1980 on Brad Osborne’s Bronx-based Clocktower label, and it is Osborn’s involvement that gives this unsung little gem its unique sound. The basic instrumental and vocal tracks were recorded in Jamaica, most likely under the guidance of producer Bunny Lee (although singer Johnny Clarke himself may have supervised the sessions) and featured veteran studio pros like Glen Adams, Sly & Robbie, Tommy McCook, Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith and Winston Wright (more or less the Aggrovators). The raw tracks were then taken to New York, where Osborn overdubbed flute, additional vocals and percussion and oversaw the final mixes. The end result was a wonderfully cohesive sequence that featured light, airy and yet active arrangements, full of well-placed and effective horn charts, all of which perfectly framed Clarke’s sweet, soulful and elegantly unhurried vocals, making Originally Mr. Clarke that rarest of reggae artifacts — an album that sounds like it was meant to be an album and not just a collection of singles. Two of Clarke’s better-known songs are included, ‘Blood Dunza’ and ‘Every Knee Shall Bow,’ as well as the heartfelt and wistful ‘Moving on to Zion,’ which examines the urge to leave Jamaica and contains some of the best lyrics Clarke ever wrote.”
allmusic

YouTube: It a go rough, Moving On To Zion, Johnny Clarke & King Tubby – Jah Jah We Are Waiting / Jah Dub, Every Knee Shall Bow, Fittest of the fittest, Blood Dunza (Albambou Raw Dub Remix)

Johnny Clarke – Don’t Trouble Trouble (1989)

Posted in Bunny Lee, Dancehall, Dub, I-Roy, Johnny Clarke, King Tubby, The Aggrovators, The Revolutionaries, U-Roy with tags , , , , , , , , on September 25, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

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“Over the years, a plethora of roundups from this formidable artist have hit the streets of Jamaica, Britain, Europe, and the U.S., all dedicated exclusively to the singer’s recordings for producer Bunny Lee. Invariably there’s some repetition, but so many singles did Johnny Clarke unleash under Lee’s aegis, there’s more than enough to go around. Inevitably there were some duds amid the barrage of hits, but the bulk of the material is of such high quality that fans really can’t go wrong. With that said, Don’t Trouble Trouble still rises to the top of the compilation pile. With copious hindsight — the set was released in 1989, the British Attack label was able to choose tracks not based on the hottest sounds of the time, but those that were the most enduring. Nicely balanced between cultural concerns, romantic interests, and dancehall bravado, the set presents a particularly well-rounded picture of this crucial artist. Although it’s still only a partial one, as Trouble troubles only to pull from the period 1975-1976, early in Clarke’s partnership with Lee, equally great numbers were still to come. …”
allmusic

YouTube: Revolutionary – Don’t Trouble Trouble, Johnny Clarke – Dont Trouble Trouble, Rock With Me Baby, Cold I up (Jaguar) 7″, johnny clarke & king tubby cold it up dub, Creation rebel + straight to the spear’s head (1975 Justice), Too Much War + U-Roy, Do You Love Me? + Aggrovators – Do You Dub Me, Since I Fell For You, Doing My Thing +King Tubby The Dub Ruler, Bring It On Home To Me+Aggrovators Bring It On Home To Me-version, You keep on running, They never love poor marcus, Johnny Clarke & King Tubby – Poor Marcus Dub, Stop the Tribal War, Johnny Clarke & U Brown No More Tribal War / Stop Tribal War ~ Dubwise Selecta Reggae

Johnny Clarke – Rude Boy (1982)

Posted in Dub, Johnny Clarke with tags , on April 7, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

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“‘If you live by the gun, you die by the gun’. Masterful performance from the main man, Johnny Clarke on this deadly Art & Craft 12″ disco 45 dating from 1982 and produced by S. Douglas.”
YouTube: Rude Boy